Week 6 Secondary Blog: Mental Health On Campus (We’re All Sick, And We Need Help)

I spent a whole week in a bed.

 

Didn’t leave the residence building even once, had minimal contact with other human beings, and only ate cereal, instant noodles and cookies whilst keeping my exhausted eyes firmly trained on my laptop screen, as I binge watched yet another season of Game of Thrones. Only after my third completely unprovoked crying session over the period of 7 days, did I acknowledge that something may be seriously wrong.

“Canadian students feel hopeless, depressed, even suicidal” – Kate Lunau states as she highlights some of disturbing realities about the mental health situation on campus in this article for Maclean’s. Well, you’re not wrong.

Over the course of the last 6 months in university, I have witnessed my best friend undergo a mental breakdown, seen three of my friends just cry due to stress, had classmates drop courses at the end of the semester just because they could no longer handle being in them, had a friend literally throw up in the middle of an exam due to anxiety and heard of a classmate who couldn’t handle it anymore and decided to drop all her courses and actually drop out of university for a while. I personally have undergone, a single mental breakdown, multiple anxiety attacks, multiple buts of calling home crying and done at least 9 full all-nighters whilst studying (once I stayed up for almost 48 straight hours). And none of my experiences are limited just to me (not even that one week where I experimented with the hermit lifestyle)

There has to be something clearly wrong when all the students refer to this place as UofTears. Like, that’s literally what we call it. Cause it makes us cry. Honestly.

This festering atmosphere of stress, anxiety and impending existential crisis’ is just not healthy, and this is a widespread problem. In fact, this problem is so rampant that such behavior is almost expected of us.

“Last year, Ryerson University’s centre for student development and counselling in Toronto saw a 200 per cent increase in demand from students in crisis situations: “homeless, suicidal, really sick,” says Dr. Su-Ting Teo, director of student health and wellness”

 “One need only to look at the results of a 2011 survey of 1,600 University of Alberta students to know something is very wrong. About 51 per cent reported that, within the past 12 months, they’d “felt things were hopeless.” Over half felt “overwhelming anxiety.” A shocking seven per cent admitted they’d “seriously considered suicide,” and about one per cent had attempted it.” 

“In March 2010, first-year Queen’s University student Jack Windeler died by suicide. “He did well in school, was active in sports, and we thought he was ultimately prepared to go to university,” his father, Eric Windeler, says. But Jack, who seems to have been suffering from depression, had begun withdrawing from friends. “It seemed to go amiss,” Windeler says, “and go amiss very fast.”

In the 14 months that followed, five more Queen’s students (all male) died suddenly, three by suicide.”

These are just some of the excerpts from Lunau’s article that made my blood run cold. There needs to be better measures taken by universities to improve mental health situations on campus. University of Toronto already has in in place several measures to combat this issue, yet the situation remains firmly in the grim portion of the meter.

 

Something more needs to be done.

 

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